(Click on the graphic to read more and see some DBI examples.)
Although I've only experienced DBI at higher levels, I recently tackled it with my students. With the right modifications a document-based inquiry can be done at any grade in any classroom for any subject. There's not really a recipe for how a DBI must look and I'm not an expert by any means, so I'm simply going to describe how the process looked for my first try. There are four phases to the DBI, and this post is dedicated to phase one.
It all started with this guiding question: Why do we have teeth?
Phase one: video
A video is a nice place to start, partly because it's the kind of "text" that's accessible to everyone. It eases the students into the DBI process, gives students early success, and hooks them.
I told my students they would be "reading" the video while thinking of our guiding question. We watched it once through simply to get acquainted with the content. After I described their note catcher, a place to write what they noticed and wondered, we watched it again. I paused the video at one point to give them time to write. (I should have paused it a few more times.)
After the video, I gave them a few quiet moments to write more things they noticed and wondered. Then each student shared something from their note catcher to his or her group. I told the students to cross their fingers that they'd hear something new from someone at their group so they could add those thoughts to their note catcher. After sharing I gave them an additional quiet minute to add more notes if they wanted to.
Lastly we gathered together as a group with their note catchers, and I wrote down some of the things they noticed and wondered on a chart.
Check out all the "reading," writing, listening, and speaking that took place. If you liked what you saw, come back soon for phase two!